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“Color and Depth,” “Sad,” “Raising Standards,” and Manufactured Housing

June 17th, 2019 Comments off

 

KatyWeldonColorDepthSadRaisingStandardsManufacturedHousingDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

 

The comment was one of the recent direct messages via LinkedIn – meaning, a privately sent comment – from a company president in a non-MHARR member firm. “Excellent coverage on the dc pr from the dr at hud! Much success to you. You bring color and depth to our industry.”  It was a reference to our extensive coverage of the Innovative Housing Showcase (IHS2019) on the National Mall in Washington, D.C.

 

A very different publicly posted comment reads as follows: “Thank you Tony for presenting this!  As a consultant to this industry since 1995, I too have been in focus groups and listened to home owners talking about the issues and disappointments.  The industry as a whole is way too purchase/bean counting controlled and less quality and customer satisfaction concerned…..sad!” – Katy Weldon, Design Consultant for Developers and Contractors.

As a notice to new readers, MHProNews often turns quoted text bold and brown to make it pop, but otherwise leaves the copy as submitted, typos and all. That disclaimer noted, the above from Weldon was in response to the recent report, which can be accessed via the linked text-image box below.

 

Ongoing MH Headwinds – Angry Manufactured Home Residents, Understanding the Manufactured Housing Industry Dilemma Through Their Eyes

 

In response, our publisher – L. A. ‘Tony’ Kovach told Weldon, “Katy, kudos for having the courage to say that publicly.  Too many are fearful of speaking the truth out loud these days, where MH’s version of Big Brother might see it.  But lest we forget, MHI’s prior president said something similar in his exit message to the industry. Thanks again, MHI’s former president’s comments are Linked below.” 

https://www.manufacturedhomelivingnews.com/former-manufactured-housing-institute-president-manufactured-home-owners-urban-institute-and-you/

Weldon responded later to the former MHI’s president’s comments with, “What a statement! I read the entire thing. If only those ideals were adopted industry wide and nation wide. Mr. Stinebert is right on! Rather than lowering quality and building a cheaper product….raise your standards and marketing practices.

Stop asking “ how much will it cost us?” And instead ask “ what is the profit in doing this?” The market is huge for what manufactured housing can produce, and I have seen first hand the overwhelming positive response to quality manufactured homes. Two of the homes I helped design and furnish won national awards for 2017 & 2018. The public is waiting!!!!!”  In addition to the point Weldon made, Stinebert stressed that customers satisfaction and the value proposition to customers must be a top concern.

There is a method to what some might deem madness on MHLivingNews and on MHProNews to challenge the powers-that-be and the status quo.

But it ought to be self-evident that when the manufactured home industry is now in its 8th straight month of year-over-year declines in new home sales, production, and shipments, that something is going wrong.

April2019ManufacturedHomeProductionShipmentTop10StatesMHARRlogoDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

To see the full report and analysis, click here.

 

Just last week, a housing economist said that ‘millions of housing units are needed. With the need so great, why is manufactured housing performing so far below its historic norms?

 

RE Focused Economist Says, ‘Millions of Housing Units’ Needed

 

The Omaha-Knoxville-Arlington axis say they are the industry’s leaders. Okay, then for them and their ‘amen corner’ to keep singing as if it was all sunshine and roses in MHVille is arguably the true madness. 

Let’s note anew that quoting a source doesn’t mean that we agree on everything, or even on every nuance of that quote.  Quotes reflect the statement of the person or organization who shared it.  Quotes are cited to gain perspective.

The causes of manufactured housing’s downturn are numerous.  Not everything is the direct result of some specific action taken by a player in the Omaha-Knoxville-Arlington axis.

That said, many issues can be traced directly back to the ‘axis’ and their allies.  Further, their failure to dive into – and correct – the problems that residents or others raise only leaves the industry with a tarnished and all too commonly undefended image.

 

 

 

12 Industry Professionals Could Reverse the Industry Downturn in 30 Days

Frankly 2 people could reverse the long-manufactured home industry downtown. 

But let’s be broader minded. If a relatively small group of vertically integrated firms plus some major community operators decided 9 months ago to cut back on new home orders, that would result in a commensurate industry downturn.

Recall that last year, MHProNews reported a tip that was later confirmed in the fall of 2018 that Clayton Homes was going to cut back on their inventory levels? Given that roughly half of the industry’s production and sales are Clayton product, that alone could account for much of the downturn.

But the reverse is also true. Taking the proper steps, a relatively small number of firms could reverse the industry’s fortunes rapidly.

There has been a change at the helm of two major industry players.  We will focus in the days ahead on some variations that could help or harm the industry’s fortunes.

That’s this Monday, Monday’s first look at News Through the Lens of Manufactured Homes, and Factory-Built Housing,” © where “We Provide, You Decide.” © ## (News, analysis, and commentary.)

 

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SoheylaKovachDailyBusinessNewsMHProNewsMHLivingNewsSubmitted by Soheyla Kovach to the Daily Business News for MHProNews.com. Soheyla is a managing member of LifeStyle Factory Homes, LLC, the parent company to MHProNews, and MHLivingNews.com.

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HUDSecretaryBenCarsonSpeechManufacturedHomesManufacturedHousingActiveIngredientMedicationStrongerAmericaMHLivingNews

https://www.manufacturedhomelivingnews.com/hud-secretary-ben-carson-speech-on-manufactured-homes-manufactured-housingactive-ingredientmedicationfor-a-stronger-america/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

LinkedIn, Manufactured Housing, and Manufactured Home Industry Professional Insights

October 8th, 2018 Comments off

 

LinkedInLogoManufacturedHousingManufacturedHomeprofessionalsDailyBusinessNewsMHProNewsLogo

 

LinkedIn is a useful tool in several respects, one which thousands of manufactured home industry professionals enjoy.

 

While Facebook certainly has more MH professional users, LinkedIn provides a different look, feel, features, and experience.

Social media in many respects is ‘public,’ so on publicly posted messages, there is no expectation of privacy.  But so as not to discourage industry comments in social media, this Daily Business News on MHProNews item will not spotlight specific names in this post.

On a recent post by MHProNews on LinkedIn, a self-described Clayton Homes devote protested our coverage of a specific article that featured a mainstream media report by an ABC News affiliate.

That’s fine, it is her right, and our publisher thanked her for her comments. In fact, it sparked a useful discussion, worth reading. Let’s begin with the back ground.

ABC video reflected significant service problems on a manufactured home sold by one of their TRU producers.  As our publisher – L. A. ‘Tony’ Kovach – explained to that pro-Clayton industry professional on LinkedIn, this trade publication has for years done fact-checks, analysis and commentary on mainstream media reports about other companies in manufactured housing.  Perhaps she didn’t carefully read that article or view that video, because the video was used in part to turn lemons into lemonade.

Clayton is therefore no exception to our coverage of problems attributed to an industry company that has drawn mainstream media attention, and/or our analysis of such coverage and news.  As the largest producer and retailing company in our industry, Clayton no doubt gets more such coverage, but that is true in mainstream media too.

 

How Hot Is That Clayton Homes Story?

That story about Clayton’s service complaints is far and away the most popular read on MHProNews at this moment in October.  To understand the following data, as we’ve explained previously, MHProNews has numerous URLs and several C-panels.  Each of those has their own unique statistics and traffic. So, when we reveal ‘back end’ data, this is from only one c-panel, not all of them.  Rephrased, what follows is a fraction of the traffic, not all MHProNews traffic.

Per Webalizer – a third-party analytics provider – here is the data from one C-panel for our trade media site, as of Generated 08-Oct-2018 07:02 CDT.  The first number reflects the rank on that article on our website, the second the hits on that article, and the third rectangular box is the URL.

2 15523 http://www.MHProNews.com/blogs/daily-business-news/clayton-homes-ripped-by-customer-complaints-spotlighted-on-abc-news/

Clayton Homes Ripped by Customer Complaints Spotlighted on ABC News

Comparisons help someone get a better sense of that traffic. To give you a sense of just how hot that is, another Clayton article from September – for the entire month, not just 7.3 days, produced the following hit count. Again, the first is rank on our website from that URL at that time, the second is hits, the third is the URL.

13 10015 http://www.MHProNews.com/blogs/daily-business-news/toxic-trailers-clayton-homes-warren-buffett-kevin-clayton-clintons-expose-videos/

“Toxic Trailers” – Clayton Homes, Warren Buffett, Kevin Clayton, Clintons – Exposé Videos

MHInsiderManufacturedHousingINdustryDailyBusinessNewsMHProNewsNote that either of those data-points arguably reflects more readers than any other trade publication in manufactured housing today. MHProNews gets more readers in a day, than other MH trade publishers in our industry might garner in an entire month for all of their content.  The photo of MH Insider that is shown is just one way of reflecting that reality.

 

Take Aways?

First, while there are routinely occasions when:

  • via social media, or in
  • calls and messages to MHProNews
  • gets feedback for, against or in between on a particular article.
  • There is often significant interest in articles on Clayton, 21st, Vanderbilt, their leaders and Berkshire Hathaway Chairman Warren Buffett.

 

Second, articles that fact-check the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) also get thousands of hits, as do a number of others every month. Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (MHARR) reports gets thousands of hits, and the MHARR News module often gets 5 figures of hits.  MHI stopped providing articles directly to MHProNews some years ago (note: they did to the Journal as well, prior to their ceasing publication), but others often provide them, for the purposes of fact-checks.

One obvious takeaway is that thousands of industry professionals want to have information other than what is sanitized or weaponized by MHI, Clayton, 21st and their purportedly ‘bought and paid for’ trade media allies.

As MHProNews – which has long been the number #1 trade media in manufactured housing – is often the only source for such reports, analysis and fact-checks, it is no surprise that ‘inquiring minds want to know.’  Others print items of interest, but debatably the reason that we dominate is because we cover topics and issues that others can’t, don’t or won’t.

As a result, MHProNews traffic has more than doubled since November of 2017, both in visits daily and in page views, as the Webalizer screen capture below reflects.  Again, this is one of numerous URLs – only one C-panel of statistics, a fraction of total MHProNews traffic, not all traffic.

2018-10-08_1115WebalizerDataDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

People want a full range of news, not just MHI hand-picked news. One reason why MHARR and MHProNews are so popular, is precisely because information that readers won’t get from MHI, are found here. On federal regulatory issues, the MHARR website covers insights in a very different way – fact and evidence based – than what MHI presents on a similar topic.

Why Does It Matter?

That community professional’s LinkedIn comments were largely polite, and ostensibly at her own initiative. When Tony asked her after the industry was broken off after the post linked below with Clayton, 21st et al, or would it be better off if those giants were broken up under anti-trust laws

The industry gets MHI and their ‘big boy’ backers news shoved down their throats from several third parties, and/or directly. MHI provides no diversity of opinion. When we provide MHI, Clayton or others a chance to respond, their responses are routinely off the record, not on, if they come at all.

Clayton Homes Consumer Complaints Saga Continues, Mold and More

Off-the-record replies from Clayton Homes team members on this ABC news controversy are found at the link above.  Keep in mind, that in the regrettably smaller world of manufactured housing, negative news that hits them, often unjustly spills over to others in the industry.

It arguably matters to the bottom line of independents and others, even if you don’t carry Clayton product.  Hopefully, by spotlighting them, they’ll not only address this consumer’s concerns, but others before they hit the mainstream media to further impair the industry’s public image.

Note that MHProNews has also raised the issue that conventional housing can have similar problems on homes that are often many times the cost of a manufactured home.  See the related reports, linked further below.

We’ll close this by noting that industry professionals feedback is encouraged, as are topic suggestions and news tips.  Several stories that we do are published because of tips from readers. “We Provide, You Decide.”  © ## (News, analysis, and commentary.)

NOTICE: You can join the scores who follow us on Twitter at this link. You can get our ‘read-hot’ industry-leading emailed headline news updates, at this link here.

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SoheylaKovachDailyBusinessNewsMHProNewsMHLivingNewsSubmitted by Soheyla Kovach to the Daily Business News for MHProNews.com. Soheyla is a managing member of LifeStyle Factory Homes, LLC, the parent company to MHProNews, and MHLivingNews.com.

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Manufactured Home Community Bordering Google Transforming into Tech Town

August 19th, 2016 Comments off

Calif_Santiago_Villa_Mt_view__Google_wrapped_theringer_Alyssa_Bereznak__credit postedDailyBusinessNewsMHProNewsSantiago Villa manufactured home community was built in the 1960s as an affordable retirement community for those 55+ in Mountain View, Calif., long before the onset of Google, Microsoft and LinkedIn.

Now, however, since management has allowed families to move in, senior residents see their community colonized by corporate employees. Says Alexander Brown, a software engineer at Google and resident of Santiago for three years, “A lot of the residents blame Google for all the issues,” Brown, who has made an effort to get to know people, said. “They hate Google in the abstract, but they give residents the benefit of the doubt. At least, they have for me.”

In the Bay Area, where the asking price for a 70 year-old two bedroom cottage in Mountain View hit $1.1 million three years ago, with Google moving forward on an ambitious ten building development, the property’s management has made moves that older residents feel are designed to move them out of the 358-home site community.

As theringer tells MHProNews, community management sent letters to several community residents notifying them that if they did not make particular changes to their home exteriors within one week, they could face eviction. Alterations included painting the exterior of a home or resealing a driveway, demands that older residents might have trouble meeting within one week.

Furthermore, community management has raised the site rent prices for new residents, making it tough for homeowners to sell their homes, which lowers the value of their homes.

A local real estate agent said, “The really unique thing is they have one of the highest space rent increases ever. They went from $900 to $2,000 a month. That creates a certain disparity between the owner’s equity and the price.”

The higher rents have put off prospective buyers, resulting in many residents unable to sell their homes at their desired asking price, leading management to buy the homes at a discount and replacing them with new homes that are often rented out to groups of Google employees at a much higher rate. The new manufactured homes, according to Brown, are all identical, and all beige, reminding him of Malvina Reynolds’ song about little boxes made of ticky-tacky that all look just the same.

Santiago Villa general manager Maria Ahmad, who allegedly did not respond to a request for an interview for this article, had said earlier in the year funds from the increase in rents will be used to upgrade the community.

It is not unusual to find three employees of Google living in a two bedroom manufactured home, and one of the residents sleeping in the living room. Said a real estate agent, “It’s a midweek commuter home,. Instead of commuting every day to their job, they find a home they live in through the week. On the weekends they go home to their main home, their bigger home.” ##

(Photo credit: theringer/Alyssa Bereznak–Santiago Villa MHC, Mountain View, Calif.)

matthew-silver-daily-business-news-mhpronews-comArticle submitted by Matthew J Silver to Daily Business News-MHProNews.

 

 

Google’s Modular Plans Denied; LinkedIn Links Up

May 7th, 2015 Comments off

linked_in_logoUpdating an article MHProNews posted March 4, 2015 regarding Google’s modular expansion plans for its North Bayshore campus, the Mountain View (CA) City Council voted to give google_logoGoogle only about a quarter of the office space it had requested for the complex, and instead opted to give the lion’s share, about 1.5 million square feet, to LinkedIn.

Google had proposed a series of tent-shaped modular complexes that would have added 2.5 million square feet onto its existing four million square foot campus, with space to increase the number of employees from 20,000 to 30,000.

The vote not only reflected the David vs. Goliath victory for LinkedIn–Google is the largest employer, largest taxpayer and owns three Empire State buildings worth of real estate in Mountain View—but would also “preserve business diversity,” meaning, decrease the city’s dependence on Google. In addition, LinkedIn also partnered with an affordable housing developer for new housing projects nearby, although Google will likely have a hand in that since it owns a majority of the land in North Bayshore.

Google may also tear down some of its existing buildings and develop a plan with a smaller footprint. David Radcliffe, Google’s vice president of real estate said the company will continue to work with the city on future plans in the city, according to nytimes. ##

(Image credit: LinkedIn, Google)

matthew-silver-daily-business-news-mhpronews-comArticle submitted by Matthew J. Silver to Daily Business News-MHProNews.

Sam Zell article on MHProNews draws WND, Media attention

November 11th, 2013 Comments off


sam-zell-manufactured-housing-professional-news-mhpronews-(c)2013-lifesstyle-factory-homes-llc-Topix, Bring on the Bulls, LinkedIn
and Silobreaker were among the sites that joined popular WND in sharing coverage on the exclusive MHProNews report on Sam Zell, “Our Way of Life is Very Much Threatened.”

Alexa, an online website rating service, ranks WND as one of the top 10,000 websites in the world. WND asserts they are in fact in the top 500 websites globally. WND is periodically cited by the hyper-popular Drudge Report. WND is an abbreviation for WorldNetDaily.

“Sam Zell’s stature in real estate and overall business success makes his voice onewndlogo-credit-wnd-posted-mhpronews-daily-business-news-
that ought to be carefully considered.  ELS Chairman Zell has sounded a warning, as well as an invitation to a new prosperity, along with keen insights into the often misunderstood manufactured home industry,” said publisher L. A. “Tony” Kovach. “Thou shall not listen to conventional wisdom.” is “one of my favorite Sam Zell quotes,” Kovach said, adding he was “not surprised” that WND and others in the media picked up the story, noting prior reports on MHProNews have been cited by the mainstream media. The link to the “Our Way of Life is Very Much Threaned” report on Sam Zell is here.

Part two of that report is planned for release in the next 10 days. To subscribe to our industry leading free email news, tips and views updates, click here.

(Image credits: Sam Zell, MHProNews, WND logo.)

LinkedIn Users: change your Privacy Settings to avoid this issue

August 23rd, 2011 Comments off

Image Credit: LinkedIn LogoBYUManagementSociety reports that LinkedIn has recently changed it’s privacy settings”without notice.”   According to their message, if you don’t take action, Linkedin can use your name and photograph for advertising purposes. To change your privacy settings and thus avoid this happening to you, here is what LinkedIn members have to do:

1. go to your name in the right upper corner
2. click on “settings”
3. click on “account” in the left lower corner
4. click on “manage social advertising” and turn it off.